Government

My Oakland Agenda: Oaklanders share their visions for the town

In between bites from a chicken and veggie sandwich, Oakland resident Connor Hunter, 9, read aloud from a poster he had just signed at Lincoln Summer Nights, a community event hosted by a coalition of local organizations. The prompt: “If you were an elected official in Oakland, what would your first act be?” “I wrote that if I was elected mayor, I would give $500,000 to businesses in Oakland because it would help the community and businesses grow. I could…

Kaplan rep says councilmember is ‘truly sorry’ for ethics breach that prompted $19,000 penalty

Oakland’s Public Ethics Commission fined Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan $19,000 Wednesday, for violating the Government Ethics Act by failing to fully report her real estate holdings.  Kaplan, an at-large member of Oakland City Council since 2009, purchased a condo with her parents near Estuary Park in 2013 but failed to disclose it on a form filed annually by public officials to declare ownership of any real estate in Oakland other than their primary residence. That was problematic also because Kaplan voted twice…

Leveling the local election field — Oakland will give residents vouchers to support candidates of their choice

In last month’s election, an overwhelming majority of Oakland voters said “yes” to Measure W, a public financing program to curb big money influence in local elections and foster political participation. The measure repeals the Limited Public Financing Act, a modest public financing program solely for City Council elections, and adopts the Fair Elections Act that will establish a “Democracy Dollars Program,” extending public financing to all city elections. Oakland’s Public Ethics Commission will implement the measure by hiring staff…

New rules make it easier for thousands of people in jail or on parole to vote in this election

There are roughly 50,000 Californians who will get to vote again or for the first time on Tuesday, thanks to Proposition 17, which restored voting rights to those on parole after it passed in November 2020.  UC Berkeley law Professor Emily Zhang believes that many people impacted by Prop 17 are not aware that they are newly eligible to vote.  “A law changing can only do so much. There’s the second part, which is to make sure people know about…

Who will be Oakland’s next mayor? Candidates talk public safety and other issues at forum

Nine candidates who want to be Oakland’s next mayor answered questions about gun violence, the environment and quality of life before an audience of about 50 voters Thursday at St. Columba Catholic Church​ in northwest Oakland.  The forum ​was sponsored by Faith in Action East Bay, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Alpha Nu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Oakland chapter of the NAACP. The Rev. Ken Hamilton moderated, giving each candidate two…

Oakland wants to give voters money to make campaign contributions

Oakland voters will be asked on the Nov. 8 ballot if they want the city to give each of them $100 in campaign vouchers that could be donated to the candidates of their choice. The program would cost the city $4 million every two years. The City Council passed it Monday, with six votes in favor; Noel Gallo and Rebecca Kaplan were not present for the vote.  “If we want to increase democracy, if we want more people who are…

No charges against Oakland police sergeant but internal investigation ongoing

A month after the district attorneys in Contra Costa and Solano counties declined to file charges against Oakland police Sgt. Lee French and his wife, Richmond police Chief Bisa French, his status on the Oakland force remains unclear.  The couple was accused in October of assaulting a family member and threatening that person’s boyfriend, in a case that was being investigated in Contra Costa and Solano counties.  Contra Costa district attorney’s assistant Bobbi Mauler confirmed recently that the Frenches would…

Injured protesting George Floyd murder, they are now suing Oakland and Alameda County

Kierra Brown was helping wash people’s eyes when officers in riot gear approached, forcing her to run. It was June 2020, during a protest in downtown Oakland over the murder of George Floyd, and police had tear-gassed the crowd minutes earlier. Police shot Brown in the back of her right leg with an “impact munition,” projectiles typically made from rubber, wood or beans. She hasn’t regained full sensation in that leg and is at risk of losing mobility in her…